Nov. 12, 2010

Courtesy of Southwestern Athletics

ATLANTA, Ga. -
In the first round of the NCAA Tournament the Southwestern Pirates needed just four games to defeat Thomas More 25-23, 20-25, 25-22, 25-12, to advance to the second round.

Southwestern jumped on the Saints early, pulling ahead 3-1 at the outset of the match. The Pirates continued to build up the lead using solid blocks and a couple of aces to pull ahead 12-8. Thomas More rattled off three straight points and then eventually pulled even 13-13.

The Pirates capitalized on hitting errors by Thomas More to pull back ahead by three, forcing a Saint timeout to stop the rally. A Saint block tied the game back up once again, 21-21 as the two teams headed toward the homestretch of game one. The Saints took the lead 22-21 and then SU pulled back even on a service error. Lauren Brown's kill gave the Pirates a lead when it mattered, 24-23, and an error by the Saints gave SU the game one win.

To start game two Southwestern pulled ahead 5-1, but a string of Pirate errors gave Thomas More a brief lead 9-8. The Saints made a brief run in the middle of the game as they pulled ahead 20-16 and the lead was more than the Pirates could overcome as they ran out of time and fell 25-20.

Southwestern took an early lead once again at the start of game three, pulling ahead by four 6-2. The Pirates were the first to the halfway point of the game as they went ahead 13-10, but Thomas More came storming back once again and pulled even 13-13. The Saints were able to pick up a few sloppy points but Southwestern continued to push and maintained a slight lead through 20 points, going up 20-18. A crucial block by Christina Nicholls kept the Pirates ahead 22-20 and forced the Saints into a timeout as the set neared its end. Southwestern closed out the set with a 5-2 run and got the game winning point on a block by Rachel Thibodeau and Brown, winning 25-22. Southwestern headed into the potential match winner game four up two games to one.

Using the momentum from the last game Southwestern pulled ahead early again, going up 8-3 at the beginning of the fourth game. The Pirates took their largest lead of the match, seven points at 12-5, and forced Thomas More to call a timeout to attempt to stop the Pirate domination. The strong play continued for SU as they continued to extend the lead, pulling up by twelve, 19-7.

Thomas More attempted a comeback but the Pirates closed out the contest on a kill by Jill Wigington.

Allison Stubbs (pictured) led with 14 kills while Brown recorded 10. Rachel Thibodeau had a team high 14 digs.

With the win SU advances and will face the winner of Hardin Simmons University and California Lutheran at 2:30 pm CST.